On this week’s podcast, we look at the global silence around the protests in Iran. We’ll also be asking whether Wilfred Owen might have been a paedophile, and railing against unnecessary subtitling on internet videos.
First, in the magazine this week Douglas Murray turns his attention to the recent turbulence in Iran. Not since 2009 has the country seen such widespread disruption, but will this be another abortive uprising, like the so-called ‘Green Revolution’, or is this the descendant of the 1979 revolution, whose leaders are still in power? Douglas joins the podcast to discuss, along with Iranian journalist Nazenin Ansari, Managing Editor of Persian-language newspaper Kayhan London. As Douglas writes:
“If there is one lesson the world should have learned from Iran’s ‘Green Revolution’ of 2009 and the so-called Arab Spring that followed, it is this: the worst regimes stay. Rulers who are only averagely appalling (Tunisia’s Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak) can be toppled by uprisings. Those who are willing to kill every one of their countrymen stay. So it is that after almost half a million dead we enter 2018 with Bashar al-Assad still President of Syria and with Iran’s mullahs approaching the 40th anniversary of their seizure of power in 1979.”
Next, we turn our gaze to perhaps the greatest of the 21st century war poets. Wilfred Owen has long been taught in schools and in 2018, the centenary of his untimely death, there will be much celebration of his life. But are we ignoring the uncomfortable facts of his homosexuality, denied by his family and recent biographers, and predilection for younger, sometimes underage, boys? And can we ever separate that from his poetry? Nigel Jones tackles this question in the magazine and he joins the podcast along with our Literary Editor, Sam Leith.